Our Faith & Reason Lecture

Patrick Henry College, where I teach as a Literature Professor and which I administer as the Provost, stands in stark contrast to the institutions and educational methods that I have been criticizing.  We offer a classical Christian education with the highest academic standards to some of the best and the brightest young people in our nation.Once each semester, we dismiss classes for a day that is devoted to what we call a “Faith and Reason Lecture.”  A speaker, usually alternating between an outside scholar and one of the scholars on our faculty, delivers to the entire campus community a substantive academic presentation exemplifying Christian scholarship.  After the lecture, we discuss it over lunch, then break into our Christian study groups (an ongoing book study led by a faculty member) to talk about it in depth.  Then we all meet together for a panel discussion with other faculty members, and then an extensive period of Q&A from our students.Our lecture this semester was by my colleague David Aikman, an Englishman who spent 23 years as an international correspondent with “Time Magazine” and is currently our writer in residence and one of our history professors.  He spoke on the subject of a new book that will soon be released, a consideration of the “New Atheists” currently in vogue.  Here is his paper.Today I thought I’d post just a couple of tidbits, things I learned from what Dr. Aikman said. I am not even trying to do justice to the way he took apart Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Richard Dawkins. You can read that for yourself. (I’ll try to remember to post something on his book when it comes out.)

 P.S.:   I’m having trouble making paragraphs on this WordPress blog software.  So please don’t think I don’t know how to sort out my prose properly.  And if anyone knows how I can fix the problem–I’m striking out on “help”–please let me know.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Pingback: Our Faith & Reason Lecture

  • Pingback: Our Faith & Reason Lecture

  • WebMonk

    I haven’t read the paper yet, but if he’s going after the athiest speakers/writers like Hitchens and Dawkins, then he’s picking on the cotton candy of the current atheistic thinkers. Not even other atheists are impressed with them.

    I realize they are getting a lot of press and coverage in pop culture, but not even those who are in ideological agreement think that they have solid ideas or anything of substance. One of the most scathing critiques of Hitchens I’ve ever read was by an atheist.

    They’re sort of the atheist version of Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter – loud and vacuous, prone to stupidity and dramatic but ridiculous statements. Picking them apart is something to do for fun and play.

  • WebMonk

    I haven’t read the paper yet, but if he’s going after the athiest speakers/writers like Hitchens and Dawkins, then he’s picking on the cotton candy of the current atheistic thinkers. Not even other atheists are impressed with them.

    I realize they are getting a lot of press and coverage in pop culture, but not even those who are in ideological agreement think that they have solid ideas or anything of substance. One of the most scathing critiques of Hitchens I’ve ever read was by an atheist.

    They’re sort of the atheist version of Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter – loud and vacuous, prone to stupidity and dramatic but ridiculous statements. Picking them apart is something to do for fun and play.

  • Ken

    But WebMonk–these are the guys that are generating all the attention. They are the ones selling hundreds of thousands of book copies. It is all well and good to respond to the writings of Michael Martin. But Mr. Martin isn’t showing up on “Larry King Live” or Bill Maher’s set. Maybe the first step in confronting atheism is just letting the air out of the more public atheistic windbags.

  • Ken

    But WebMonk–these are the guys that are generating all the attention. They are the ones selling hundreds of thousands of book copies. It is all well and good to respond to the writings of Michael Martin. But Mr. Martin isn’t showing up on “Larry King Live” or Bill Maher’s set. Maybe the first step in confronting atheism is just letting the air out of the more public atheistic windbags.

  • Bror Erickson

    Read the paper last night, it was a good read. Thank you for posting it.
    Webmonk, when the public square becomes a boxing ring, you box the guy in the ring, not the coach.

  • Bror Erickson

    Read the paper last night, it was a good read. Thank you for posting it.
    Webmonk, when the public square becomes a boxing ring, you box the guy in the ring, not the coach.

  • Jim Tallmon

    Well said, Bror Erickson! Aikman has modeled for thoughtful Christians how one, with a bit of imagination (using Einstein to turn the tables on scientistic atheists!) can respond to those who mount the most influential attacks on our worldview.

    Writing for the intelligentsia yields only limited influence in the culture at large (because they tend to talk amongst themselves, in an academicized discourse that is unaccessible to the masses).

    I was in Barnes & Noble’s last evening. Hitchens’ book is STILL prominently displayed, lo these many months hence. The reading public, as they sip their frappacino and nibble on their biscotti, will find further justification (however shoddy) for further losing their religion. The trick will be to get Aikman’s book prominently displayed at Barnes & Noble . . . or to confront the popularizers on various fronts. Targeting the reading public has always been one of the more effective ways to wage a culture war (Lewis, Weaver, Kirk, Buckley, Veith, etc.)

  • Jim Tallmon

    Well said, Bror Erickson! Aikman has modeled for thoughtful Christians how one, with a bit of imagination (using Einstein to turn the tables on scientistic atheists!) can respond to those who mount the most influential attacks on our worldview.

    Writing for the intelligentsia yields only limited influence in the culture at large (because they tend to talk amongst themselves, in an academicized discourse that is unaccessible to the masses).

    I was in Barnes & Noble’s last evening. Hitchens’ book is STILL prominently displayed, lo these many months hence. The reading public, as they sip their frappacino and nibble on their biscotti, will find further justification (however shoddy) for further losing their religion. The trick will be to get Aikman’s book prominently displayed at Barnes & Noble . . . or to confront the popularizers on various fronts. Targeting the reading public has always been one of the more effective ways to wage a culture war (Lewis, Weaver, Kirk, Buckley, Veith, etc.)


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X